Sidmouth home library service is helping transform homebound readers lives

RVS Volunteer David Evans with reader Bill Lovell and some of the books he has taken out and deliver

RVS Volunteer David Evans with reader Bill Lovell and some of the books he has taken out and delivered, - Credit: Archant

Book lovers unable to leave their home can still pick up the latest novels by their favourite authors thanks to the town’s free home library service.

The Sidmouth Royal Voluntary Service [RVS] and its team of volunteers collect and return books on behalf of residents who are no longer able to get out of the house.

Among those using the service is 95-year-old Bill Lovell, who says it has ‘transformed’ his life as he is visited weekly by RVS volunteer Dave Evans with books he has ordered.

The Sidmouth resident found out about the service through his daughter, who has a similar scheme in her town.

Bill, who reads three books a week, said: “I would tell people to get in touch if they are avid readers or like to read. It will transform their lives a lot. If I did not read then I would be in front of the TV all the time.”

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Sidmouth Library keeps the readers’ library cards on file to order and check out novels for the volunteers to collect and return.

Dave said: “Bill reads a whole range of books, he’s a very avid reader. He is open to reading new authors and new books that come out.

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“He really loves reading, its so important that he can do something that keeps his bran ticking on and we have good discussion for 30 minutes.

“I think it is more than just a service, it’s more than just delivering books, you build up a rapport and relationship with the person you are going to visit.”

The home library service is also available to people who are temporarily housebound after an operation or through caring responsibilities; it is also expanding into visiting care homes.

Jackie Roberts, coordinator for the Sidmouth RVS, said not many people were aware of the service and she wanted to ensure keen readers can continue enjoying their pastime.

She said: “We have a team of volunteers who will deliver library books to the housebound who love reading and have probably been keen library users in the past.

“It is a personal service in that the volunteer gets to know the reader and either chooses books they have requested or ones that they know they should enjoy.

“It has been called ‘befriending with books’.”

If you would like to volunteer or sign up to the scheme contact Jackie on 01395 578208.

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